Mastery and Mystery: A Personal Journey of Transformation

By Tina Boehm. Tina is soon leaving her post as a Haven Registrar, and will be greatly missed. Here she reflects on three programs she has taken recently and looks ahead with gratitude.

The Process Work Approach to Transformation group. Tina is third from the left.

This Spring I started to feel the inklings of something stirring inside me. A restlessness and discomfort started to set in. In an effort to deny and appease this, I countered with conscious awareness and gratitude for the amazing gifts and opportunities I have been graced with since I started my “work” here at The Haven eight years ago. Since then, I have taken over 40 programs here and have enjoyed the knowledge and confidence this has given me, particularly as it pertains to my job here as Registrar. I barely recognize myself now from the shrivelled, traumatized, fearful individual who tentatively stepped in to Come Alive in 2007.

Unbeknown to me at the time, I was about to discover what was moving in me, or rather what I was moving myself towards. Three programs taken in fairly quick succession starting in May this year have given me the clues and courage to face a new direction which I am now following. I want to share a little of this experience with you as an expression of gratitude to The Haven and the leaders of these life affirming programs, and as encouragement to you all to follow and take delight in your own personal journey of discovery.

Spirit Journal Intensive

Spirit Journal Intensive was led by Ellery and Mary Helen Littleton. This gentle, generous couple provided a safe and inviting space for a small group of experienced and intrepid journallers to unfold the deeper stories and meaning of our lives. The journalling process, as developed and articulated by Ira Progoff in the 1970s “provides deep therapeutic effects not by striving towards therapy but allowing the individual to draw upon his inherent capacities for self expression and discovery, establishing a sense of his own being by enriching his inner life with new experiences of a creative and spiritual quality”. What transpired was four days of intensely moving personal stories and insights. In the three years since I first took one of Ellery and Mary Helen’s journal programs, I have used this process regularly with a group of friends. I have come to know myself and my friends on a deeper more intimate level through our writing and sharing together. It is truly a very creative and transformative process. I have learned to connect with the deepest and wisest parts of myself. The deeper person within the person that knows me , flows through me and taps into essential and universal intelligence. I have come to understand the essence and hidden longings behind my actions. I felt seen and heard and validated by this incredible group of individuals. What a gift you are to me and to The Haven Ellery and Mary Helen.

The Power of Balance

A couple of weeks later I took The Power of Balance with Kim Hudson and Laurie Anderson. This is in my opinion, a sleeper of a program. I was lured in by my own curiosity and a desire to learn more about these relatively new Haven leaders. Gently and skillfully supported by Laurie Anderson, Kim Hudson brought many years of experience and application in the field of storytelling, scriptwriting, Jungian archetypes and education. Following a career in geology Kim found her way to Vancouver Film School exploring film studies and script-writing. She quickly identified a lack of any feminine counterparts to the Hero’s journey as originally described by Joseph Campbell. The Hero’s journey being an external (fear based) drive towards consciousness and individuality. By contrast the Virgin’s internally driven (love based) journey is towards transformation and authenticity, by following his/her dream or authentic nature despite the wishes of others. Kim identified 13 “beats” which form both the character arc and actions that symbolically represent the archetypal transformation towards wholeness. The balance between the two themes of fear and love, both of which are essential human drives was both fascinating and illuminating. Kim’s book The Virgin’s Promise and the card series she has developed were both a helpful and fun way to identify my own journey towards wholeness and authenticity. I felt both validated and excited to discover my personal storyline as it is unfolding and to track myself using this model.

Process Work Approach to Transformation

The final and newest program in this hat-trick of programs came in the form of Process Work Approach to Transformation, masterfully led by Gary Reiss and ably supported by his delightful and joyful wife Sage Emery. Gary is a 30 year veteran of Process Oriented Psychology, or Process Work, as developed in the early 1960s by Arnold (Arny) Mindell, a quantum theoretical physicist working in Zurich and later at Esalen, which is now a world wide movement. Essentially Process work involves many different modalities and is used in multiple applications including conflict resolution, relationships, coma patients and the dying, dreamwork, quantum healing, movement and meditation. The wisdom and experience our bodies hold and which is accessed through the “dreambody” (that part of us that has access to the ethereal plane and “process mind”) provides guidance and information through a deeply personal and transformational journey. Identifying and using the “edge” or resistance to anything we are moving towards offers insight and guidance to move through our blockages and body held traumas. This new four day program truly was an exceptional journey of discovery and quantum healing at work for many of us. It was liberating, fun, and a wonderful exploration and testament to the healing benefits of Process Oriented Psychology. I cannot speak highly enough of this amazing process, and of Gary and Sage’s leadership in deepening and personalizing the models used in many of the Haven Core programs.

I am hopeful and excited by what lies ahead for me, and am transformed by the recent knowledge and insight these programs have offered me as I continue my journey. It seems that each program I take at The Haven takes me further to my own voice and truth, and to the essential nature of what it is to be human on this profoundly personal and rewarding journey. As the external world careens towards chaos and destruction, I know now that this is only part of the story. I take responsibility for my own part in and contribution to it. I want to use what I have learned, and continue to learn, by way of offering it to the world, rather than taking what is wanted or what I think I am entitled to or deserve. I have some tools, and insights and a desire to move consciously, and courageously towards wholeness and healing. In the words of Mary Oliver, “My work is loving the world”. My personal work starts with loving myself and that starts with knowing all that is stirring and stirred within this fragile and passionate body. My gratitude for The Haven and the wonderful range of programs and leaders is immense. I would not be where I am today without you. The journey continues.

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